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Exhibit thief sentenced


A former St. Louis Museum of Transportation tour guide was ordered March 15 to serve three years of probation after pleading guilty to stealing six Civil War-era coins, valued at $18,844, which belonged to the American Numismatic Association Money Museum, the ANA announced.

The organization’s statement recounted the details of the theft:

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A four-panel ANA traveling exhibit, “Money of the U.S. Civil War,” was scheduled to open at the St. Louis museum last June. The coins – a silver dollar and five gold coins dating between 1849 and 1862 – disappeared just before the museum’s 5 p.m. closing time on June 11, one day before the traveling exhibit was to open to the public.

Police said there was no evidence of a break-in. After information about the theft was released, the coins were anonymously returned about a month later.

James H. Strassner, 68, was arrested in July and indicted by a grand jury last month on one felony charge of stealing more than $500. He was given a suspended imposition of sentence, meaning if he meets the terms of his probation, his record will be cleared. He also has been ordered to perform 80 hours of community service and to attend a theft seminar.

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